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Gulf of Panama: Bona, Otoque and Taboga Islands & the Panama Canal

This morning we accomplished our longest sail of the trip, departing from Coiba Island at noon to cover 190 nautical miles to finally reach the Gulf of Panama. This big gulf possess one of the richest upwellings in the region created by strong winds known as trade winds, the same winds that help Columbus across the Atlantic.  What happened is that the trade winds that usually bring humidity to the Caribbean coast get stronger at this time of year and managed to blow across the continental divide. Read More>

Feb 26, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Coiba National Park

After an unforgettable experience on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, where we enjoyed the wonders of the neotropical rainforest, we repositioned over 120 nautical miles to our first visit within Panamanian boundaries. We started by visiting Coiba Marine National Park, which is considered  the most pristine marine national park in Panama, and one of the most important areas of conservation on the Eastern Pacific.  Its importance and conservation efforts make it a cornerstone of the Central and South American Marine Corridor. Together with Cocos Island in Costa Rica, Malpelo in Colombia, and Galapagos in Ecuador, this area is extremely vital for the health of our marine ecology in Central America. Coiba National Park was established in the early 1990’s and because of its worldwide importance it was declared as a World Heritage Site, status that definitively makes all of Panama very proud and willing to help with its conservation. Read More>

Feb 25, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Esquinas River, Finca Saladero, Casa Orquideas Botanical Gardens and Golfito

The morning began with an early morning expedition landing craft cruise around Rio Esquinas. This is one of the eighteen rivers that empty into the Gulf Dulce. We saw red and black mangroves and many birds, such as osprey, snowy egrets, parrots, and parakeets. For those who stayed on board National Geographic Sea Lion we started the day with a gentle yoga class on the bridge deck, with an amazing view of the ocean and dense rain forest. Read More>

Feb 24, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Osa Peninsula: Agujitas River, Caletas Reserve, and Corcovado National Park

Today, on our visit to one of the most unique sections of southern Costa Rica, we wanted to start our day on board National Geographic Sea Lion the earliest way possible.  At the break of dawn we advanced with our expedition landing crafts in order to discover the Agujitas River. Only accessible during high tide, Agujitas is a quintessential rainforest portrayal, with a steep river rift covered in dense vegetation. The views of the forest and, far in the distance, of the continental divide rising up to 12,400 feet inspired our curiosity to discover more of this realm. The herons were the stars of the day. We saw green herons, little blue herons, yellow-crowned night herons, and bare-throated tiger herons—however the toucans and tityras were important sightings as well. As soon as we returned and enjoyed breakfast, we replenished our energy in order to explore Caletas Reserve either by horseback riding or walking. Read More>

Feb 23, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Manuel Antonio National Park

Just last night we started our adventure sailing along the Pacific coast of Central America, from Costa Rica to and through the Panama Canal.  We woke up this morning as we dropped anchor at Manuel Antonio National Park, our destination for today. Read More>

Feb 22, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Manuel Antonio National Park

It is our last day onboard the National Geographic Sea Lion and after cruising overnight from Osa Peninsula in southern Costa Rica we arrived at the central pacific coast of the country to explore Manuel Antonio National Park, well known as one of the best places to see monkeys and sloths. The reason this is a great place to see wildlife is because is a very small forest. Read More>

Feb 20, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Casa Orquideas & Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula

Guests of National Geographic. Sea Lion awoke this morning in the calm, lake-like waters of Golfo Dulce near Casa Orquideas—a tropical botanical garden accessible only by boat—and our first visit of the day. As the sultry sun broke the horizon, guests were able to explore this photographer’s paradise full of orchids, and gingers, tanagers and toucans.  Our wellness specialist, Alexis Mutchler, arranged for a special morning yoga session amongst this lush paradise of plants for the fitness inclined in the group. Thanks to the time of day, not only was the light absolutely ideal for photography, but the tropical birds were at their most active, offering multiple opportunities for everyone in the group to create excellent photos. Two scarlet macaws treated us to an extended and lively discussion on a tree-top within easy reach of most camera lenses. After our adventures of the morning, National Geographic. Read More>

Feb 19, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Golfo Dulce, Tigre River

Early this morning we had the chance to navigate during daylight along the border of Costa Rica and Panama. This was a great experience for all guests on board National Geographic Sea Lion. As a part of this amazing experience for all of us, we had the opportunity to enjoy “Isla Ladrones” from the distance. This island has a splendid brown booby colony and, while we were there, we witnessed a feeding frenzy of these beautiful birds.  After watching this marvelous event, we got back on track and continued our route to Golfo Dulce. Read More>

Feb 18, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Jicarita Island and Granito de Oro; Isla Coiba National Park

At sunrise we were greeted with calm seas and a beautiful view of the island of Jicarita—a rarely visited and wild part of Isla Coiba National Park. Coiba National Park and the smaller islands surrounding it form the third largest marine park in the world, and have been almost completely protected from development. The palm-fringed rocky shore of Jicarita, with its tide pools, proved to be a photographer’s paradise. Coiba Island was discovered in 1516 by Bartolome Hurtado who conquered the native Coiba Indians living there, and from whence the island’s name was taken. Read More>

Feb 17, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

Bayoneta & Vivienda Island, Pearl Islands Archipelago

After a successful Panama Canal transit yesterday our sense of exploration brought us for the first time this season to the Pearl Islands. Located inside the Gulf of Panama, this archipelago possesses one of the richest histories almost equal to its unique marine conditions.  Different pre-Columbian indigenous groups inhabited Pearl Islands; unfortunately, due to the strong presence of Spaniards—after Vasco Nunez de Balboa arrived at the Pacific—the natives diminished, reaching the point of disappearance from the area entirely. Balboa himself called this archipelago the Pearl Islands, due to the many amounts of this precious mineral found and even given away by indigenous groups to Spaniards. Read More>

Feb 16, 2015 National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama

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